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Comparing the Telecom AirCard 595U and Vodafone Vodem

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 20-Aug-2007 14:12

Today I've got a Telecom New Zealand-branded Sierra Wireless AirCard 595U (USB CDMA EVDO Rev A modem).

Since I have a similar hardware (Vodafone vodem USB modem) on another network (HSDPA), and since the Vodafone vodem has been providing really poor performance, as my first test I had to compare those two devices.

First impression? I am highly impressed with download speeds when comparing with the HSDPA USB option.

I have a variety of connections available here - Vodafone vodem HSDPA, Vodafone Merlin XU870 HSDPA, Telecom Sierra Wireless CDMA EVDO AirCard 595, and now the new Telecom Sierra Wireless CDMA EVDO AirCard 595U, so I had some experience with mobile data and what to expect from different hardware and network conditions.

I used the vodem with my UMPC because it is a device with USB ports only - no PC Card or Express Card slots. On my laptop I was using the Telecom AirCard 595 because it gave me better performance, coverage and it was the only one working on Windows Vista 64 bit (both the vodem and the XU870 work with 64 bit now, but I am sure Vodafone have not released the drivers to the world yet).

When I first got the Vodafone vodem I could use it from my home office and get an average of 800 Kbps downloads as shown on picture 1 from June 2006:



Since then Vodafone changed something in this area because my voice calls are terribly noisy and mobile data speeds have gone down. How much down? To the bottom, as you can see on picture 2 from today (August 2007):



Wow! Is this a difference or what? It's slower than dialup. This is from the same home office where I tested the same vodem one year ago. See how the network speeds went down? This is consistently the result I get here using the vodem.

Now this is the new Telecom Aircard 595U, on the same UMPC, in the same location, just minutes before I tested the vodem:



No comparison! I just hope Telecom New Zealand manages to actually keep this service when migrating to their new, recently announced HSDPA network. Because on CDMA EVDO it rocks.

To be fair, I tested the Vodafone vodem again, and if though it wouldn't get close to the CDMA speeds, this time it was much better, closer to what I would expect. It also shows how wildly the service fluctuates:



I have talked to someone at Vodafone and we will have this traced to check for cell capacity alarms, etc. I will keep you posted...


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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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